Making Maine a place to do business means making its people and natural resources more readily available to the world. I've spent two terms in the Legislature working to create Maine jobs. For example, I sponsored legislation that created the Broadband Strategy Council. As its chairperson, I helped obtain more than $35 million of investment for the Three Ring Binder Project, a nationally recognized private/public partnership that is bringing high-speed Internet access to rural parts of Maine, widely expanding the opportunities for good jobs, enhanced educational opportunities, health care and public safety.
At the national level, I served as vice chairperson of the National Conference of State Legislature's Communication, Financial Affairs and Interstate Commerce Committee, and was a member of the Executive Committee Task Force on State and Local Taxation of Telecommunications and Electronic Commerce. I have been a panelist at numerous national conferences on broadband and net neutrality.
I am the only candidate in the race who backs the study of a public park for the north woods. In August 2011, I founded the Friends of the Maine Woods, a statewide organization that advocates for such a study, to leverage Maine's first-class reputation in tourism and bring thousands of visitors, hundreds of jobs and millions in tax revenue to Maine's fabled interior. As one piece of a diversified economy that includes new timber products, biofuels, careful exploitation of ground water resources, services, hospitality and outdoor recreation businesses, we can make the Maine woods of the future a source of economic hope out of the desperation of chronic 20% unemployment, while protecting its cherished open spaces for generations to come.
Statewide, Maine is poised to lead the world in the emerging industries of tidal power, biomass and pellet fuels, organic agriculture, water resources, specialty manufacturing, ecotourism and an array of broadband-based retail and knowledge industries, because of our honest, hard working people, our Yankee ingenuity, and our ability to adapt and re-train for a new economy. I support sensible incentive policies, responsible bonding, and innovative public-private entities such as the Maine Technology Institute to move our state into a modern, knowledge-based economy and stop Maine's brain drain.